Driver in fatal OC Transpo bus crash facing 38 criminal charges

The woman behind the wheel of an OC Transpo double-decker bus that crashed into a shelter west of downtown Ottawa in January is facing numerous dangerous driving charges, Ottawa police confirmed Friday.

Aissatou Diallo, 42, turned herself in to police on Friday and was charged with three counts of dangerous driving causing death and 35 charges of dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

The crash at Westboro station on Jan. 11 killed passengers Judy Booth, Bruce Thomlinson and Anja van Beek.

At least 23 others were reported injured at the time.

Ottawa police announced a week ago their investigation was “substantially completed,” and that they were talking to the Crown about what would happen next.

Affected residents ‘top of mind’

In a news conference Friday morning, interim police Chief Steve Bell said the news is likely “difficult … for many people to hear.

“I want to express my deepest condolences to all of those who had their lives changed on that tragic day. You were always top of mind as this investigation progressed,” he said.

Bell called the investigation “very complex,” and said the evidence that led to the charges will soon be presented in court.

Interim police Chief Steve Bell says after a thorough investigation, charges have been laid against the driver. No charges will be laid against OC Transpo. 1:05

The dangerous driving causing bodily harm charges cover people who suffered physical and psychological injuries, Ottawa police said in an email after the news conference.

The investigation included the coroner’s office, provincial and federal transportation officials, provincial police, RCMP and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

Bell said the City of Ottawa and OC Transpo have been cleared of criminal wrongdoing in the crash, and that no other charges are expected.

In an emailed statement issued shortly after the charges were announced, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson thanked first responders who helped rescue survivors, as well as the experts who took part in the months-long investigation.

In court next month

Diallo had been working for OC Transpo for less than a year at the time of the collision, and had been involved in another collision between two buses in December 2018.

She is expected to appear in court Sept. 17.

The crash raised questions about why vehicles of that size are not crash tested.

The route number of the bus involved in the crash, 269, has been retired.